Web Scraping

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices paid by Australian households for goods and services consumed. The CPI is an important economic indicator: it is used by the Reserve Bank of Australia to inform monetary policy and government, academics and economists for macro-economic analysis. The CPI is also used extensively by businesses and the general community in setting wages and the prices of goods and services.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects CPI prices in a number of ways. These include visiting businesses, online collection, telephone surveys and administrative data. To efficiently collect prices online, the ABS now uses automated website data collection. This is referred to as ‘web scraping’.

Web scraping enables the ABS to reduce the burden on businesses and organisations; reduce collection costs; and improve the accuracy of the CPI, with more frequent and larger samples of goods and services.

The ABS adheres to the Privacy Act 1988 and the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Personal information is not collected through web scraping. The data collected is used for statistical purposes to enhance the quality of the Australian CPI.

For further information regarding the ABS’s use of web scraping in the Australian CPI, contact prices.statistics@abs.gov.au or 1300 135 700.